Boyd's 40-year involvement coming to end

Stipendiary steward Chris Boyd officiated at his second-last greyhound meeting at Forbury Park on Tuesday before his retirement next month. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Stipendiary steward Chris Boyd officiated at his second-last greyhound meeting at Forbury Park on Tuesday before his retirement next month. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Working as a journalist reporting on a news story about greyhounds led to a 40-year involvement in the sport for Dunedin's Chris Boyd.

Boyd is calling time on his professional involvement in the racing industry and will retire in his 35th year as a stipendiary steward early next month.

Much of his work as a steward has been in the greyhound code, a sport Boyd fell into by chance.

The 64-year-old was working for the Ashburton Guardian in 1978 when he went to interview a greyhound trainer.

After taking a liking to the dogs, Boyd soon after found himself purchasing a pup.

Little did he know that the dog would take him on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and lead him to a new professional career.

''I was doing a story on greyhound racing; then I decided to go and have a look at a pup that was extremely well bred.''

''I arranged for a trainer in Ashburton to look after the dog and train it for me, but he had some major health complications.''

''So I ended up with a pup and no trainer, so I decided to train it myself.''

Boyd already had an interest in racing, having attended every meeting of each of the Forbury Park Trotting Club's seasons during his teens.

His greyhound purchase, named Princess Tweeny, won her first start as well as plenty more.

Boyd learned how to train the dog as he went with the assistance of former prominent Mosgiel trainer John Wilson.

Wilson was the trainer of one of New Zealand's greatest greyhounds, Misty Anna.

Boyd has no doubt about the dog being the best he has seen in his 40 years following greyhound racing.

Princess Tweeny was a quality sprinter whose timid nature meant she was best suited in front and not bustling for positions.

Before enjoying a retirement as Boyd's pet, the greyhound ran third in the New Zealand Oaks at Forbury Park.

Earlier, Princess Tweeny provided what would be a poignant moment for her trainer. The dog once stopped in her tracks at a spot where she fell on the same track in a race a week earlier.

Boyd was hauled in front of stewards and grilled over the incident before his dog was stood down from racing for 28 days.

Little did Boyd know then that he would soon be doing the grilling.

After Princess Tweeny's retirement and without a dog to in training he moved into administration with the Otago Greyhound Racing Club and administered the first full totalisator meeting at Forbury Park.

In 1983, Boyd applied to be a stipendiary steward with the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association and has been presiding over its meetings ever since.

Since the formation of the Racing Integrity Unit in 2011, he has also been working harness racing and thoroughbred meetings.

Drama in a greyhound race is one moment that stands out for Boyd.

The dogs were running around the home bend when two of the leaders started fighting, which sent the whole field into an all-in scuffle - apart from the dog running last.

As the other dogs tussled, the tailender rushed past them and won the race.

Although he is retiring from his role as a stipendiary steward Boyd will still be kept busy with two part-time job.

He performs administrative duties for the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society and Dunedin social group, the University Club.

Boyd also plans to keep following greyhound racing and is considering joining a harness racing syndicate following his retirement.

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